A Conclusion but Not an End: A Reflection on the Brackenridge Fellowship

Through the fellowship I have learned valuable lessons about both the research process and from my cohort and peer researchers that have given me a new perspective on research as a whole. Though I came into the fellowship with a clear understanding of linguistic research I have come to better understand different field’s ways of conducting research and the value inherent in each as they often differ from the way I conduct scholarly work. Seeing and understanding this multidisciplinary research made me a better scientific investigator and gave me new angles with which to explore my problem.

Though my perspectives changed positively through my experience with Brackenridge, I also realized that I had fallen into a common pitfall of conducting research. I began to realize that my project was much too ambitious and far reaching as I applied for my IRB approval. I went from conducting two survey’s a few weeks apart with a possible interview for clarification to one survey supplemented by interviews as I realized that the former idea was really two studies disguised as one. As I continue to work from the later idea, I can see that wanting to accomplish so much in a short time is a hazard to conducting research but that the best way of learning this was through experiencing it firsthand. From this my perception of how much was actually feasibly able to be accomplished through a research project was altered. However, this was helpful overall to my research journey and gave me important insight into the true process of scholarly work.

One of the most valuable things I learned this summer was patience; patience with my work and myself. The research process is hardly linear and at many times researchers have to pivot and adjust both their aims and process as they encounter setbacks or realizations that things may not work according to plan. Over the summer I had to do this several times during the conception and carrying out of my project. After realizing that my proposed project had too wide of a goal it had to be adjusted, submitting my IRB application and waiting to make edits, and realizing that my study design had to change I have had to think quickly and adjust my work. In these moments I had to have patience with myself for not designing the perfect study on the first go and realizing that conducting scholarly work was not as straight forward as it seemed. Waiting on my IRB approval took patience with the process and my work. I have emerged from this summer fellowship with a better grasp on research and a better understanding that things take time and will not always be perfect. Research is a process that must be worked through with patience and not a magically flawless endeavor. As I conclude the Brackenridge fellowship I hope to continue and conclude my research on the semantic difference between nice and kind with my faculty mentor and follow that path wherever it may lead. Completing the Brackenridge will also help me in may goal of attending grad school and give me valuable experience in the research field that I can take with me to my continuing educational experience.

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